It occurred to me that I should look at Arcana Evolved and Iron Heroes for archery possibilities.
AE recommends either the hawk totem warrior or the ritual warrior as archers. Both are satisfactory feat-wise (bonus progression, roughly every four levels) but I'd probably go with a ritual warrior, because the special abilities are better. Or rather, more interesting to me. More of their abilities are directly focused on archer-ing -- combat rites, giving you short duration bonuses on various things -- and they get ability score bonuses. The hawk totem warrior eventually gets the ability to fly, and to do various archer-type things while flying, but I'm not really all that interested in that, and the ritual warrior would definitely be more interesting in the early game.
Race-wise, quickling faens have both the advantages and disadvantages of halflings -- bonus to dexterity, smaller weapons -- but they also have the possibility of evolved levels, which give bonuses to dexterity and ground speed. They've also got the option of metamorphosing into a spryte, which would give further bonuses to dexterity and the ability to fly in exchange for becoming tiny size. Which could actually be worth it, because it'd make the character very hard to hit.
Then there's litorians, who also get a bonus to dexterity. A couple of those racial levels could also be worth it, because they give bonuses to dexterity and strength, as well as increased speed and a couple of odd items, like scent.
All told, I'd probably end up going human. There are enough awesome combat feats in AE that it'd be worth it.
Iron Heroes provides one very obvious option: an actual "archer" class. They get a lot of ranged goodies: a +1.25 base attack progression when using ranged weapons, an aim pool, and the best access to projectile feat masteries. Out of all the classes I've looked at, they're the most focused on straight up archery. Every other class has some other thing that they do. Archers are exclusively about chucking things at people.
Racial options would be a little different. IH doesn't have race, as it is normally understood. Everyone's human, but instead of getting an extra feat and skill point you get two traits. For an archer character, I'd spend one trait on Dextrous, giving +2 Dex and -2 Con, and I'd consider using both traits for it, which would eliminate the Con penalty. Otherwise, trait selection would depend on the other aspects of the character -- background, any other skills I wanted to have, and so on.
Comparing these two options, the archer looks much more attractive than the ritual warrior. Mostly because, with the archer, I wouldn't have to manage combat rituals. Partially because Iron Heroes generally looks like a lot of fun to play. Partially because the racial options are better. (I like the AE races. I really do. I just don't like those two races.)
Compared to the options I considered the other day, archer still comes out ahead. The only trouble with it is that I'd have to be able to convince everyone to play Iron Heroes. It'd be much easier to play a ritual warrior in an otherwise "normal" campaign.
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